UK telephone charges are the second most expensive in Europe, and they are going to get worse, according to research by National Utilities Services (NUS).
Even though call charges fell in all sectors in the UK this year, the market is still poor value compared to the rest of the world.
Local calls compared particularly badly with other countries. Even though there has been a 1.3 per cent price reduction since last year, the UK jumped from being the fourth most expensive in the world to being the third most expensive. Only Belgium and Australia are worse value. Local calls in Canada are free, while local rates in the US are almost half the cost of those in the UK.
The report also found that users who had been lured to new suppliers by lower prices had regretted their move because of inferior services.
Warning that prices will probably continue to increase, Andrew Johns, international director at NUS, said: "Suppliers are improving their quality of service (QoS) but the downside to this is increased prices."
Johns suggested that if the UK had originally used a price regulation system - such as that used in the US - it could have avoided this punitive price system.
"Other countries haven't been through the same hoop. They're evolving differently," he said.
In spite of a seven per cent decrease in long distance call rates, UK national prices are still the eighth most expensive in the world. Substantial price drops in other countries helped push it further up the ladder. Meanwhile, UK line rental costs increased again this year by 6.2 per cent.
For more stories see 7 April issue of Network News UK
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